William McRaven: The one thing they teach you in the military is really the value of small things. As I mentioned in the commencement speech, I use the bed as an analogy, but it was a little bit of everything. So every morning you had a uniform inspection, and the military uniform that we wore, you had a brass buckle and you had to polish that brass buckle until the point where there were no smudges, that there were no corrosion, that the brass buckle was perfect. And you would spend hours every night polishing that brass buckle, and then, immediately after the inspection, they would have you go jump in the surf zone and now your buckle would be corroded. But the point they were trying to teach you, much like the bed, is the little details matter. Because the brass buckle and the bed later equated to your weapons system. So when we would go out on operations, your weapon — and in the case when I first started, we carried an M-16 — and you would go out and you would be on an operation all night long. You would come back at about 4:00, 5:00 in the morning. And you are really tired, again, you are cold, wet, and you are tired and all you want to do is take a shower and get in bed. But what’s important is you have to stop and clean your weapon first. And you just can’t do a cursory cleaning of it, particularly not if it’s been in the salt water. You’ve got to do a very thorough cleaning. And if you don’t do that, and then the next morning you go out on another operation, now your weapon is corroded and it might not work when you get in combat. So the point is, the little things matter. And that really does transcend into planning, for example. A lot of people ask me about special operations, and there is this belief that it is the bravado and kind of the cavalier approach. What I learned very early on is that’s not what makes our operation special. What makes our operation special is the level of detailed planning and rehearsals that we do, so that the hard things become simple when you’re in a combat situation. You learn that in every military organization from the very beginning, whether it’s how you spit shine your shoes, how you polish your brass buckle, or how you make your bed. The details matter.